It started two years ago. An antithesis to years that had passed when I’d managed to drink every day for the month of December and felt proud of it. Things had been changing, slowly. Life was getting more positive for the first time in months, I’d shifted myself away from old habits. The WEMBO worlds had come and gone, a third place was worth all the training that had taken place, and the realisation that in the next few years I was going to have a new way of living. I’d intentionally got a bit fat, was enjoying relaxing and being in the mountains and I wanted to start training again, so I came up with an idea.
It was the first year of the 12 Beerbods of Christmas – 12 beers, one for each of the 12 days before the festive feasting and puking day. I’d been playing around with running the distance of the ABV of my normal Thursday night Beerbods for a few months at this stage. So what would happen if I tried to run the ABV of each of the 12Beerbods? Could I even run for 12 days straight? Turns out, not quite, but mostly if I included distance moving in the mountains on foot. A bit of a cheat, but it was quite snowy. (insert list of excuses here). It was at best a fun thing to try.
The year moved on and the festive period for 2015 rolled around again, but this time I had a focus. I was going to run the 12BB as well as my normal Friday ABV run – but.. I was also going to try and run every day in December. It was part of the pre-training for the Divide, also something to break up the endless bike miles of the months that had passed.
December ’15 went well. With the help of my wife, she rummaged through the Beerbods box and worked out the distances I’d run per day, blinding me to the beer I’d get to enjoy after my run. I ran every day, a minimum of 3km, with a mixture of lunchtime runs on the canal near work, some evening fell runs, and then longer runs over the weekend when I felt frisky. For the 12BB days, and the double up Fridays, I had quite a few longer evening runs up on the fells above our new home. It was enjoyable.
I’d laid down an intricate trail network in my head for the months of MTB training that were about to commence. Some good, some utterly crap and ones I’d never take a bike on – let alone run again. The up side to it was that I drank less than normal. When I did, I drank better beers (also some with a very high ABV) and then ended up doing long runs at steady pace the next day. A few runs we’re in cool crisp quiet December evenings high up on the fells. Many others were on grotty Manchester grime on the canal at lunch dodging pigeons and dog shit. It is what it is. But it got done. Even with the flooding. It got done. I’d run for a month straight. I even continued it for a few days in to January until I got sick from cleaning all the grit out of the town. I think I topped out somewhere around 180km for the month. Not much, but enough.
This year, it’s a bit different. I’ve no intention of running on road accept to access trails. The daily minimum is 5km with 200m vertical. I’ll run fell every day, morning, or evening. I’ll run the ABV of any beers I drink in Kilometers including the 12BBs. I’ll probably suffer a bit. I’ve been informed one day will be at least 22km. Even the Weewok has been in training for it. I’m not quite sure how press-ups are going to help. But I digress.
All this is with a purpose. Next year is going to be a bit different in many ways. I’m going to focus on moving in the mountains at speed. Be it by foot, hand, ski or by bike. It will be about moving vertical over covering distance. There are goals to be aimed for;
- A return to long score mountain marathon racing.
- An entry in the Jura Fell Race and a sub 4hr time aim.
- Qualify for a skyrunning race in 2018.
- Back climbing V6 minimum.
- Sub 12hr at the LL50.
- LL200 SS record.
- Prep for TD2018
Other things are on the table too. But that’s for another time.
Easy 5km on my normal fell route. Surprisingly dry. Didn’t meet anyone.